An Open Vein - Jennifer Laurens, J.M. Warwick
John, a sixteen-year-old high school graduate, has a great life ahead of him. He has already been accepted into the pre-med program at USC and looks forward to beginning his prestigious career. One of his favorite people in the world, Kane, a long-time family friend, has invited him to spend the summer in New York City. Excitement fills John's heart as he sets off for a summer of independence.

Once in New York, Kane and John take in the sites, go out to eat, and start settling into a routine. While helping Kane unpack one evening, John comes across some information that leads to a deep family secret. He sees a birth certificate that lists Kane as his father. When confronted, Kane admits that he is indeed John's father and goes about telling the story of how he has always loved John's mother and had a romantic interlude with her only a few days prior to her wedding to another man, the man John has always assumed was his father. John's world turns upside down.

His world becomes even more confusing when Kane walks in the door after working at the hospital one day and tells John that he received an anonymous letter that threatens John's safety. Kane says he has informed the police and they are attempting to locate the person who sent the letter, but until then, John will have to remain in the apartment and stay hidden. John is shocked and nervous about the threats. He does all he can to occupy himself during the day, including work that will prepare him for his college classes that Kane ordered for him. The only bright spot in his day was if Kane made it home for lunch. John would sit, staring at the door, hoping to hear the sound of keys jingling as they entered the lock on the front door. John would listen to stories about Kane's day, living vicariously through him.

One day, John can't stand it anymore. He feels like he is going crazy cooped up in the apartment all day, only being able to watch others walking freely outside. He decides to slip down into the courtyard of the apartment building and get some fresh air. Everything works out fine. No one sees him. He breathes in the fresh air and basks in the sunshine, even taking off his shirt so he can feel the heat on his body. He makes it back upstairs without any incident and feels satisfied that he got away with his adventure. Until, Kane comes home that evening. John didn't take into account that the sun might burn his skin. Kane can see the severe sunburn and explodes in anger over John's carelessness. This event leads to even more confinement for John.

Eventually John is locked in his room at all times without clothes and other necessities. For a time, he is even nude, having to beg Kane for clothes and food. Kane explains that this is an opportunity for them to bond as father and son because John must rely on Kane for everything, like a baby does from his parents.

Finally, after having enough, John confronts Kane which leads him to several realizations about himself, the situation he is in, and about Kane. AN OPEN VEIN is a psychological thriller that forces the reader to ask why. Why does John allow himself to be completely dominated by Kane? Why is Kane treating John so badly? Is it possible to forgive an abuser? The author does a fantastic job of putting the reader in the story. We feel what John feels and celebrate when he is finally released from the prison he is forced to live in with Kane.